Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek resigned from office earlier today. This was the end result of a coalition pow-wow on Saturday where apparently cooler heads prevailed in the post-PS-congress fuck-up and realised it don’t matter a pair of dingo’s kidneys if the government holds on for a few more months and agreed to hold early elections ASAP.
AB’s letter of resignation (source)
While president of the parliament Janko Veber said in a statement about an hour ago that 22 June is not feasible as election date, other summer dates are being looked at. The “problem” is that school recess starts that weekend as well which might pose a problem from a constitutional point of view (a bit more on this later on).
It all went tits-up
That the ruling coalition went tits-up became apparent a week ago, when Jay-Z ousted Bratušek as PS chief. Disintegration of the party followed, with the PM quitting PS and taking half of the parliamentary group with her, while Zoran Janković was left to pick up the pieces.
Thus a curious situation ensued, where the PM is fact a political apatrid (EDIT: although she is apparently in the process of forming her own party), while president of one of the coalition parties apparently wasn’t even invited to partake in the huddle. Namely, Zoran Janković was reportedly overlooked when invites for the meet were sent out which technically makes even more of a mess of the whole thing. Which gives enough of a glimpse of the clusterfuck we’d have experienced if Bratušek administration were to try and continue in the current setup.
The word “fugly” would not even begin to describe it. Just to give you an idea: Although Bratušek left the PS, Janković insisted the congress gave her full support to stay on as Prime Minister, while voting him in as chief of the party. How he came to this conclusion remains a mystery, as congress didn’t vote on the issue. Bratušek on the other hand fulfilled her promise to quit the party and the premiership if she loses the congress vote, putting Slovenia in the classic “what happens if an unstoppable force meets an immovable object” conundrum. Luckly, that particular scenario was avoided. Temporarily, at least.
That it not to say that Jay-Z will not have a say in the way things unfold. Even though the PS parliamentary group split down the middle and the party under Janković is left with 13-or-so MPs (out of 29 they began the term with), it will take a nod from Janković as well to try and cut a short-cut to early early elections.
Namely, the procedure that is triggered by resignation/fall of the government calls for at least three rounds of attempts to find a new majority in the parliament, with ten MPs having unlimited options to put forward their candidate. Thus, theoretically both PS and the SDS as well as any other group that could muster ten MPs (say, the SLS-NSi combo with its newfound happiness) could delay elections for a considerable time.
This, however, will not be the case, apparently. While the SDS remains suspect (pun very much intended;) ), there seems to be a consensus, albeit grudging one, that no parliamentary party will seek to put forward their PM nominee. For his part, president Borut Pahor already said he will not be putting forward a nominee as well, which basically covers all the bases and open the theoretical possibility of elections as early as summer.
Having said that, things will probably not go smoothly. Aside from the fact that summer early elections clearly favour only current parliamentary parties as their alternatives outside the parliament (such as once-parliamentary Zares now led by Pavle Gantar or the up-and-coming Verjamem of Igor Šoltes, Solidarnost or the United Left) need more to get their operations running, there is also the possibility that time will simply run out.
Elections are normally not held during the summer break (last week of June to mid-August) nor are they called in a manner which would mean the campaign would be held during the break, although the latter is more of an accepted convention than anything else. And since elections can be held forty days from the act of calling them at the earliest, this means that if anything is to happen, it has to happen by next Tuesday. Failing that, we’re most likely up for elections in late September.
Additionally, there is the factor of a possible constitutional contention of the election date, especially since the Constitutional Court seems to have acquired a taste to meddle in policy questions, case in point being the real-estate tax and the archive referendum, where they nixed May 4th as voting date on a marginal but politically prominent question of UDBa archives, courtesy of the SDS.
But even though we can reasonably expect the party of Janez Janša to stall things a bit (well, quite a lot in fact, since they’re again talking about impeachment of Alenka Bratušek), they’ve apparently started to prepare for a period without Janez Janša as their point-man. Following the upheld conviction of the SDS leader who is to serve two years in prison for corruption, SDS MP Romana Tomc resigned as vice-president of the parliament. Officially it was done in protest over “politically motivated conviction against Janša”, but it is quite possible she is designated to replace Janša at least temporarily.
Romana Tomc, SDS’ Alenka Bratušek?
Tomc was rumoured to have been considered a replacement for Janša during the 2012-2013 winter uprisings which called for his resignation as PM. Nothing came of it as a new coalition was formed under Alenka Bratušek, but Tomc has been near the limelight ever since. With no immediately apparent political baggage she just might be the person SDS is looking for to fill the void Janša’s (temporary) removal from inner circle of politics will bring.
Since SDS is in a good position to win the parliamentary elections as things stand, an apparently moderate interim leader, not unlike Alenka Bratušek (both gender- and rhetoric-wise) might just give that extra boost the party needs to climb all the way to the top, which has eluded Janez Janša but once for the last quarter of the century.
Anyways, as of today, Slovenia is in election mode, level 999 and will remain so until mid-autumn when local elections are held. Between today and then, however, we are to cast our votes in EU elections (25 May), archive referendum (rescheduled for 8 June) and early parliamentary elections. God forbid the President were to resign.
On second thought…
9 thoughts on “PM Bratušek Resigns, Looks To *Early* Early Elections”
are we (Slovenians) not being just plain st00pid with putting up with all this shit? No, seriously will there ever be a day, when either one of them doesn’t screw up? (rhetorical questions)
how did Belgium manage the status quo/be in negotiations for almost 2 years? Any possibility Slovenia can be the same (puhweethee puhlees)? I just can’t handle all these st00pid ppl making fun of us (= apparently even the more st00pid ones)
Well, Belgium is not really a good example, as their system is a bit different than ours, meaning two years w/o government would definitely be no good. As for being stupid, and putting up with this shit… well, go and vote. It looks there will be more relevant competition this time around than there was for the better part of the last two decades 😉
Belgium (my native country) happened to manage the stalemate – it wasn’t a status quo at all – for over 500 days because, in fact, the economy kept chugging on in spite of the political games that were being played, and the previous government kept being in a ‘current affairs’ state, which gave them limited powers to act when necessary on smaller issues, while the Francophones and the Flemings battled it out, the former making sure the stalemate was kept going until the winning Flemish nationalist were absolutely unable to form a government anywhere. On May 25, it will result in an even bigger win for them, as they keep being demonized.
Two years without government wasn’t good for this country either, but if Slovenia wants to, it could do the very same, as long as the economy keeps running, people go to work and pay their bills and taxes. Which only goes to show that on the practical side of society, politics are very much outnumbered and outgunned by the reality that the economy governs, not the politicians. That may seem simplistic on the surface, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
Of course I’ll vote, I take that act rather seriously, even though it seems as it doesn’t really matter since not a single party that I voted for in my life has gone through to parliament or gain a significant role in decision making. Any chance you’ll cover the ‘more relevant competition’?
I concur with Dr. ARF to a point – politicians are of course outnumbered but at the same time we are a bunch of noncommittal & resignated people which means the greater numbers are just that, numbers on a paper & our politicians are greatly aware of that.
I’m a casual observer of the Slovenian scene but it seems to me that, whatever was intended when she was first appointed, that Alenka Bratusek comes out of this with a good reputation and perhaps even a political base of her own. If nothing else, she can unequivocally state that she left Slovenia in better shape than she found it in.
To an extent, yes. She definitely fared much better than most people expected. However, one wonders if she would not have done better if she “rode into the sunset”, so to speak. Not that I wouldn’t like to see her remain on the scene, but political capital is a curious beast and she is one wrong move from squandering what little she accumulated in the past year.
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